Rabies vaccine is given to kittens around 3-4 months of age with a booster 1 year later, followed by boosters every 1-3 years. We prefer to vaccinate for Rabies with a 1 year Purevax vaccine, which is an adjuvant-free recombinant DNA vaccine. Non-adjuvant vaccines are less likely to lead to chronic inflammation. In addition, the vaccine contains no rabies virus whatsoever. This modern vaccine represents a significant improvement in vaccine safety and efficacy.
Rabies is a virus spread by saliva that causes major brain damage in dogs, cats, humans, and many other animals. Symptoms often begin with inability to swallow, aggressive or “dumb” behavior, and/or partial paralysis of limbs. As the disease develops, patients may become very aggressive, biting at objects, other animals, and people.
According to North Carolina State Law, it is our legal responsibility to ensure cats and dogs are vaccinated against rabies. Even indoor pets can be exposed to this disease, which is fatal to pets and humans alike.
This combination vaccine protects against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. It is given to kittens at 6 weeks of age, followed by boosters 4 and 8 weeks later. For adult cats, we recommend readministering this vaccine every 3 years.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis is a viral disease affecting the eyes and upper respiratory system. Signs include runny eyes, profuse nasal discharge, loss of appetite, weight loss, as well as corneal and oral ulcers. Without attention, patients can become blind or die. Calicivirus causes severe “colds” in cats and symptoms are similar to those seen with rhinotracheitis. Panleukopenia is a viral disease that causes vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. It severely depletes the patient’s white blood cell population in the body, resulting in higher susceptibility to other diseases. Even with extensive treatment, panleukopenia is highly fatal.
Feline Leukemia (FELV)
A blood test can be done on cats or kittens as young as 8 weeks of age to determine whether the cat is carrying the leukemia virus. The first FELV vaccine is given at 12 weeks of age, is boosted at 16 weeks, then given yearly. FELV is a highly contagious virus that can be transmitted from mother to kittens or between cats via saliva. Signs can be very nonspecific (not eating, weight loss, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes, runny eyes and nose, etc.) Testing of all cats and vaccination of outdoor cats is highly recommended.